I was honored to speak at Google’s Israel headquarters two weeks ago. It was an amazing experience, with stunning and breathtaking views of the Tel Aviv skyline! )
Here’s some of my thoughts and lessons learned.
- Get Visually Comfortable Even Before You Arrive.
Always ask for a picture of the room you will be speaking in. Especially when your talk is right after an “all hands aboard!” event, so you don’t walk into the room util literally the moment that your speech will begin, it allows you to get a feel of the room layout, which makes the mental stress of walking into unfamiliar territory almost disappear.
- Think about the Why.
When your clients say “we don’t allow pictures.” always think about why they are saying that. In this case for example, more follow up revealed that they do not let in guest photographers, but if you ask early enough they can bring in someone that they do allow that will film for you. (as it turned out, I was unable to do that on such short notice, and had to settle for some still images and audio of the session…)
- Understand How To Tweak Your Presentation to Your Audience, Specifically.
One of the topics I spoke about was testimonials, and how they do more for your business in more ways than you can imagine. Several of the questions and comments afterward were about how engineers tend to, well, be “engineer-y” when recommending co-workers, and overcompensating the good they say with a wallop of overdosed negatives so it seems “balanced.” while actually leaning heavily on the negatives and rendering many testimonials and letters of recommendation useless by the recipient.Another commented that about the unique way Google does employee reviews, and that one of the techniques I dropped would enable him to get better reviews at his next meeting- even though the ratings are done anonymously and he would, before my speech, have no way of controlling what anyone would write. The effusive thanks was nice, but it made me realize how much more it would have been valuable to the audience had I spelled that out specifically so!
- Say something (sort of) unrelated to warm them up.
I said an old Jewish parable to expand on an audience question. (Yes, even Google-ites have questions sometimes!) That parable, as well as some other stories I mentioned (and Kenneth Cole in particular), was very well received by the audience because of it’s application to their professional as well as personal lives…
- Bring Your Own Guests.
Have clients or potential clients that live nearby? Have them come and hear you speak. it adds to your credibility, gets them to kvell about you (“I was invited to a private Google lecture. oooh.”) and gives them additional reasons to hire you. (as in”I don’t care if he looks like he just stepped out of a silent film of the 1930s. If he spoke at Google, he knows what he is doing and can help us!”). assuming the client doesn’t mind, it’s a win win win… and you have someone there that you feel comfortable asking to take several snapshots of you as you speak.
I did not utilize this appearance “Hasidic Rabbi Speaks at Google to Resounding Applause”properly. no media mentions of it, no (that I know of) tweets or Facebook photos of it, which was partially due to a family wedding which took place just several days before. But had I done that, this event would have gotten media attention in the wider media, and that would have brought many more people to knowing about me and visiting my website.I also should have asked and encouraged the audience, at some point, to please take pictures and send them to me (for which I could have given a free book or somethin’.)